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Make your heart sing with these healthy habits

While February is a time for matters of the heart, it’s also a great time to think about taking steps to keep yours happy and healthy in the new year.

A healthy diet is one way to keep your heart strong. Another way - exercise. Three categories of exercises are all critical to a healthy heart, and overall well-being. If you can find ways to incorporate a few of these easy exercises into your daily routine, evidence shows you’ll feel better and feel more confident as you navigate the world.

Aerobic Exercise

This type of exercise improves circulation throughout the body and helps strengthen the heart. It can also help reduce blood pressure and resting heart rates, can cut the risk of Type 2 diabetes and prevents a host of other health issues. You’d want to try to get at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise each day. This can include brisk walking, running, swimming, cycling, tennis or other sports. What you do is less important that getting your heart pumping in what is considered moderate activity for at least 150 minutes per week.

Resistance Training

This is most often associated with lifting weights - but anything that makes your muscles work against a force is a good source of resistance training. This sort of exercise helps you retain and build muscle mass, which can aid in weight loss. Additionally, this type of training can help strengthen your body in helpful ways, reduce cholesterol, and add to your overall wellbeing. Some exercises include working out with weights, using resistance machines, resistance bands, or even body weight exercises, such as push-ups or squats. Professionals recommend two non-consecutive days of resistance training each week.

Stretching and Balance

While stretching and balance workouts don’t directly benefit your heart health, they help set the stage for the activities that do benefit your heart. Maintaining your flexibility supports your musculoskeletal system, which allows you to better perform aerobic and resistance training exercises. Remaining flexible also aids in joint health, reducing pain, inflammation, and cramping. A focus on flexibility can also help promote stability and reduce the risks of slips and falls. It’s recommended that stretching exercises be done every day, and before and after other forms of exercises. Yoga and Tai Chi are some good ways to maintain flexibility.

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